Architect born in Palermo, Marvuglia received his first training in his native city for then spending some time in Rome from 1747 to 1759. By the end of his time there, a handful of progressive young architects and designers in the circuit of the French Academy in Rome were moving away from the ornate Baroque towards a simpler, more classical form of architecture under the influence of the antiquarian and architect Winckelmann, a protégé of Cardinal Alessandro Albani.
Following his return to Sicily, he worked on the rebuilding of the monastery of San Martino delle Scale, in the mountains near Palermo, S. Filippo Neri (1769),San Francesco (1772–76), Palazzo Constantino, and Palazzo Belmonte Riso (completed in 1784).
Marvuglia also designed two villas at the newly fashionable aristocratic enclave of Bagheria. The Villa Villarosa, while neoclassical in spirit is clearly influenced by the hôtels by Gabriel on the Place Louis XV in Paris. For Ferdinand I of Naples, forced into temporary residence in Sicily by the republican revolution and the Napoleonic occupation, he designed a whimsical Casina Cinese in the royal park of La Favorita outside Palermo and at Ficuzza a long unbroken block of a severely classical villa with very little relief and an unbroken cornice.
As a teacher of architecture Marvuglia strongly supported the study of Sicily’s Greek temples, however, in spite of his later reputation as a Neoclassical architect, he never applied to his own work the strict rules and proportions he found in his studies of ancient Greek architecture. He died in Palermo in 1814.
1. Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/giuseppe-venanzio-marvuglia_(Dizionario_Biografico)/
2. Wikipedia, https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Venanzio_Marvuglia